COLUMBIA, S.C. ̶ Several South Carolina veterinarians are partnering with the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) this spring to help pet owners protect themselves, their families, communities and pets from rabies.
Participating veterinary practices are offering low-cost vaccinations during spring rabies clinics beginning this week. State law requires that all pet cats, dogs and ferrets are vaccinated for rabies.
“Rabies vaccination fees may vary by clinic site, but no vet participating in these clinics will charge more than $10 per pet,” said David Vaughan, Director of DHEC’s Division of Onsite Wastewater, Rabies Prevention and Enforcement.
Veterinarians offer rabies vaccines year-round, but the spring clinics provide an affordable and convenient public service while also helping to raise awareness about rabies prevention.
Though not required by state law, DHEC strongly recommends owners also vaccinate horses, livestock in frequent contact with humans, livestock that are particularly valuable and animals used for raw milk or raw milk product production.
“Rabies is a threat to pets, livestock, wild animals and humans,” Vaughan said. “Pet owners must stay vigilant and keep their pets current on their vaccinations.”
Hundreds of South Carolinians undergo preventive treatment for rabies every year due to exposure to a rabid or suspected rabid animal. Keeping pets up to date on their rabies vaccinations is one of the easiest and most effective ways to protect against this fatal disease.
In 2018, there were 100 positive cases of rabies confirmed in animals across the state including 42 raccoons; 16 skunks; 15 cats; 13 bats; nine foxes; two cows; and one dog, goat and coyote. In total, 32 of South Carolina’s 46 counties had a laboratory-confirmed case last year. Positive rabies cases have been reported in every county in South Carolina since the statewide program began.
For more information ̶ including spring clinic dates, times and locations ̶ visit scdhec.gov/rabies.